Note: there is no octopus. Actually, there is no sign either – the long line and delicious smell is your only clue that you’ve arrived at this unique culinary adventure. During our 45 minute wait, we had plenty of time to learn the proper protocol (leading to many comparisons on the Yelp site to the “Soup Nazi” from Seinfeld):
*No ordering. Gus prepares one meal each day and that’s what you get.
*No napkins or utensils or bag. Bring your own or stop by the Starbucks on the corner.
*One meal per person. No exceptions.
*No chit-chat. Unless Gus initiates the conversation.
*Serving starts at 12:00 and continues until mid-afternoon when the food runs out.
There is a reason people come from all over the city and use up their entire lunch hour waiting in line – the food is fantastic. All prepared (using wood charcoal) while you wait, using the freshest ingredients, each meal usually includes a few falafels, grilled chicken, rice with a garlicky tomato sauce – after that, the menu changes daily. One lunch included: greens, blueberries, honeydew/mint, and a spicy grilled pepper. The next time it had: char-grilled brussel sprouts, grapes and a mandarin orange. Our last visit brought figs, a strawberry, snow peas and grilled scallions. We have now been initiated into the club and will join the rest of the fans who happily spend their lunch hour waiting in line for the best $15 lunch in the city.
Octopus through the seasons:
Location: Center City Corner of 20th & Market (12:00-2:30 Mon-Fri)